It's a bold and risky move. Though Polygon rated the game a 10/10, it also highlighted some of the frame rate problems God of War can fall victim to in a separate technical analysis. Like Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey, the axe is more than a weapon; rather, it's the foundation on which most of God of War's puzzles are hung.
Despite being a god, Kratos had his butt whipped on multiple occasions during my playthrough, as some encounters require you to be almost ideal with your timing. Anyone who has played a game in the Souls series will immediately sense its influence on the control layout (the game seems to pay homage to the From Software series by throwing an occasional giant-sword wielding, fully armored knight at you to fight.) The new game also drops the series' heavy use of Quick Time Events, or timed on-screen button prompts, in an apparent concession to those of us who've grown tired of them. I'm still wrestling with it.
The plot of the game is much more intimate and profound than in the past.
At first, it didn't seem too bad. After Kratos lost his way, Sony Santa Monica has set the God of War on a new path.
What starts off as a semi-grounded affair (minus some quick bouts with the undead, a few trolls, and a God) soon gets otherworldly. After 12 hours of playing the latest installment of God of War, it's tough putting into words how I feel about this game. According to the reviews that have been posted, the game is not only is a worthy addition to the franchise but probably one of the best. Without giving you any details, suffice to say this is not a self-contained story. Game director Cory Barlog broke it down while speaking with Gamespot, noting, "We have made seven games with that (previous) combat system". Bragging rights maybe, or perhaps I enjoy the challenge. You won't be taking a gondola to the top of the highest peaks in all the Norse Realms, but you will have a far greater margin for error in enemy encounters. I'll refrain from making direct comparisons, but with a bevy of shortcuts there's a clear amount of From Software influence afoot.
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As expected in the God of War series, there are some seriously huge boss battles. Can you still rip apart wolf jaws and juggle fools with combos? It's not like it was even that big of a deal as I'd barely gotten very far at all. You're given a shield to use from the start, and intrinsically tying it to your attacks is perhaps more important than landing a blow in the first place. The Frost Axe, for example, can be used to lay waste on enemies with light and heavy attacks, each of which connects with ferocity and heft. Where the narrative succeeds exceedingly is in its handling of the core relationship between father and son, with Atreus' constant questioning and wonder at the realms they traverse a flawless foil to his father's grumpy, stoic indifference. Atreus will help out on his own, but you can also make him fire an arrow at any time by pressing square. Despite these nuances, at first, I was anxious. All the changes to old school God of War gameplay, settings, and story mix well with the more traditional video-gamey elements. That's because the original trilogy contains some of the finest action mechanics of the past few decades, and it doesn't mean that the new PS4 iteration is by any means sub-par.
Holy hell @bearmccreary, you are an incredible partner to collaborate with. Gear can be crafted or purchased after acquiring the appropriate materials, and it has a World of Warcraft rarity level of green, blue, purple, and gold. We can travel through the nine kingdoms of Norse mythology, and two of these are completely optional. As always, swift dodging and a penchant for iFrame (invincibility) windows will get you past all of the game's challenges.
With reviews being out from today, it's clear that God of War is going to be an unbelievable game we'll all be willing to play as soon as it releases later this month exclusively on PlayStation 4. But it opens so many questions that the impending journey will surely answer that it's hard not to get immediately sucked in. While not ideal and sometimes prone to making mistakes, Atreus usually knows what to do in certain situations.
Whatever the case, there's no denying God of War's alluring visual presentation of a new world. Even having spent over a dozen hours completing the campaign, there are still dozens of boxes on my quest log that I have yet to check (and even more I have yet to discover).